By Ste Sharp
Earth’s greatest warriors fight to survive in a land where evolution is rapid, enhancing them with bizarre adaptations. John Greene, a WW1 machine gunner, struggles with his physical changes as he battles to return to his son,
Publication date: September 2018Buy
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John doesn’t belong here. He didn’t want to fight in the Great War in the first place then he was ripped out of battle and dumped in an alien land filled with soldiers from every era of human history. Haunted by the death of his wife and desperate to get back to his son, John joins the rag-tag group of soldiers, who have fourteen days to reach the silver gates.
Danger lurks everywhere and in the most bizarre forms. Sharks in the trees, subterranean wolves and even John’s body turns against him when his hand melts into his machine gun, leaving him crippled and defenceless. His companions change too: the Maori with his plant abilities; the Celt who can run at incredible speeds; the Arab with his ability to read minds.
Struggling with their new abilities, the army cross a scarred plain littered with ancient battles and populated by surviving alien soldiers. To complete their challenge the Humans must win a battle and soon encounter a blue-shelled warrior-race, the Brakari, led by their all-powerful leader, Belsang, and the twisted General Panzicosta.
Allies are made and deals done, but time is running out and battle is imminent.
Each warrior must use their enhanced powers, but will John be able to fight and will the Humans survive?
Ste Sharp was born in the hottest summer on record. The sun-god was happy and, by rights, Ste should have been sacrificed on the nearest beach, but he escaped. Twenty years later, with a degree in Ecology under one arm and a guitar under the other, Ste travelled the globe in search of tall tales and the perfect chord progression.
After sailing the seas with 16th century pirates, exploring the Brazilian jungle, living through the centuries as an immortal body-swapping alien and spending time with the ghosts of early Britons, Ste wrote Darwin’s Soldiers – his fifth novel.
With two young sons, Ste has roughly four minutes of spare time each day, during which he paints, writes and plays loud guitar in an indie band. Ste needs more hands.
A shape moved in the branches.
‘Who’s there?’ John shouted.
A naked man covered in paint leapt down. ‘Prohiba!’ he yelled as he landed.
‘Shit!’ John stumbled back.
‘Prohiba homusionem!’ the man’s wild eyes widened and he jabbed a three-pronged spear at John’s chest.
John was too surprised to be scared and his first thought was how lucky he’d just been for a piss or he would have ruined his trousers. The thought tickled him and he smiled.
‘Ego ridiculam?’ the man barked.
Who was this nutter? Probably some local farmer angry with the army for straying onto his land.
‘Sorry mate, I don’t understand you,’ John lifted the machine gun off his shoulder and checked the magazine was locked in. ‘Je na comprend pas.’
‘Quid agis homusionem?’ the farmer barked, hopping from foot to foot in his sandals.
‘Listen, I don’t understand you. I’m just trying to get back… home,’ John shoulders dropped: he’d had enough of all this fighting.
The painted man stared at John and twisted his head in a manner that unnerved him. He had seen it before: a lad in his battalion, Miller, had lost all emotion: no smile; no fear. The next day he bayonetted his commanding officer and was shot running across no-man’s land in his underpants.
‘Don’t you try nothing!’ John lowered his gun.
- 19th June 2020 Summer Reads
Team Darwin! I hope you’re all doing well and been making the most of the lockdown? Some new skills learnt maybe, like playing the ukulele, improving your flying karate kicks… or how to bounce a ping-pong ball off a set of upturned pans into a paper cup? Life skills.
During the lockdown, the editors have cracked on with the Darwin’s Soldiers sequel – Survival Machines – which will soon have its…29th November 2019 Discount Offer!
Unbound Books have a 15% off discount code this weekend, so grab yourself a copy of the Darwin's Soldiers sequel - Survival Machines!
Or, seeing as it's nearly Christmas, why not buy the Book Bundle as a present for the Sci-fi fan in your life?!
https://unbound.com/books/survival/19th September 2019 Happy Birthday and farewell
Darwin’s Soldiers was published a year ago today! Woo-hoo!
Happy Birthday to the little fella who doesn’t seem a day over… well, I probably came up with the idea in 2004, so the book a moody teenager by now!
And, as promised, this will be my final Darwin’s Soldiers update. Sad times.
My first post was made 932 days ago - or two and a half years in planetary time – and what travels we’ve had…12th September 2019 The Final Countdown
We’re fast approaching Darwin’s Soldiers’ first birthday!
Yes, since the book landed on your doorsteps the Earth has charted another full circuit around the Sun, which, in turn, has lit up reading rooms, pages and happy faces across the globe. If you haven’t read the book yet, I hope you’ve had a good year of reading! :)
With the anniversary in mind, this will be my penultimate Darwin’s Soldiers…23rd August 2019 Summer Discount
What a scorcher! I hope you’re all having a great summer and have spent many an hour utilising nature’s greatest reading lamp to reduce your reading pile down a notch or two? Nothing beats reading on the beach!
Hopefully 'Darwin’s Soldiers' was amongst your recent reads and you enjoyed the adventure? Please leave a review for future readers or recommend it to anyone who'd be interested. Let’s spread…1st August 2019 Paperback vs e-book
A few years ago many people predicted the death of the paperback.
It was the seventh prediction since Gutenburg’s press, but this time it was different - the machines were rising and everyone would be reading their books on e-readers from now on. Shelves would be cleared, leaving plenty of space for photo frames or tiny statues of prancing horses, and holiday luggage weight would halve!
But…18th July 2019 Breaking News!
In a major new development, Darwin’s Soldiers is hoping to make one giant leap off the page and onto the screen!
I’ve just signed with the TV and Film agent Emma Topping, who is incredibly keen to promote the characters and world of Darwin’s Soldiers to TV and Movie companies who are looking to create gripping shows full of twists, historic back-stories and character-driven adventure.
More…24th June 2019 Book Signing
There’s been quite a bit of activity around Darwin’s Soldiers recently – some I can’t talk about yet, but could lead to a very exciting step forward!
This weekend, I signed copies of Darwin’s Soldiers in WHSmith, Sudbury, where I spoke to many readers of great taste, who are being introduced to the world of The Origin Trilogy right now. Many badges were pinned on t-shirts and many books signed…31st May 2019 What did you think?
Hey, Team Darwin! I hope you’re all well and enjoying what feels like the start of an amazing summer in the northern hemisphere?!
Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read Darwin’s Soldiers? If so, what did you think? Reviews are an author’s lifeblood, so please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads – or check out the reviews already posted. Lots of great feedback from a variety of readers.
I’ve…7th May 2019 Review, review, review
Team Darwin, there has been a good deal of reviewing going on recently!
Thank you for your reviews of Darwin’s Soldiers. Truck-loads of 5-stars have been popping up everywhere, so it sounds like you guys have been enjoying reading John’s adventures! Whether it be on Good Reads, or Euryleia’s favourite website, they have been insightful and sure to entice more readers into The Origin Trilogy. Cheers…4th April 2019 In these times of change...
Team Darwin, as we fight to make sense of the world crumbling around us, we all need a little escape to take our minds off current events. Game of Thrones will finish after this series and Ipswich Town will be relegated. We have to accept these changes and, when the glow has faded from our day-trips to Margate or Felixstowe, fiction will be there for you.
Some changes have already taken place …19th March 2019 Happy Birthday!
Hopefully you’re reading this on March 20th, in which case it’s a huge Happy Birthday Darwin’s Soldiers!
Technically it’s a half birthday, so today we celebrate six months since the novel was published.
More importantly, today is also my son’s birthday (Happy 7th Birthday Harry!) and the Spring Equinox. From now until September the days will be longer than the nights as the northern hemisphere…1st March 2019 Let's be havin' you!
Drastic measures I know, but now is the time to enlist the powers of thine enemy: the Iceni warrior queen of the evil Norwich City – Delia Smith.
As she said on that fateful day with such clarity, “Where are ya?”
I’m repeating that call now to you, Team Darwin, as we near the six month mark since Darwin’s Soldier came out.
A massive thanks to the supporters of the sequel, Survival Machines…7th February 2019 Survival Machines
It’s been a strange few months since Darwin’s Soldiers was published… I’ve signed many books, grown a beard a Viking would be proud of and discussed characters and events (with you and other readers) that only used to exist in my head! I’ve loved it and I’m humbled by all the reviews the book has received. Thank you.
If you have started reading the book but taken a break, here’s the latest review…4th January 2019 Happy New Year
Happy New Year, Team Darwin!
I hope you all had fun festivities and some cosy family time?
A big THANKS to everyone who has reviewed Darwin’s Soldiers on Amazon (ten 5-star reviews!) and on Goodreads, and to everyone who has pledged for the sequel, Survival. You will be immortalised with your name in the new book when it comes out. I’m glad you’re enjoying the adventure!
If you haven…19th December 2018 Equinox to Solstice
Can you believe it’s been three swift months since Darwin’s Soldiers was published? By chance, those three months also coincided with the entire season of Autumn. So watch out - Winter is coming!
During that time we’ve had signings, sightings on the high street and ten 5-star reviews on the website named after a major South American river (thank you!). Less than half the stock of the paperbacks…28th November 2018 Video killed the radio star...
Now try getting that song out of your head! (Oh-a oh-a!)
Yes, a new Origin Trilogy video has emerged from its cocoon, but first - e-book issues!
I've spoken to a number of you plucky, beautiful Team Darwin members and many have confessed to not having read Darwin's Soldiers yet! (Shocked face!) Those who have finished the book tell me they have had a string of constant luck since reading the…6th November 2018 Don't forget...
If you have read Darwin’s Soldiers and if you want to know what happens next to John and the survivors, you can pre-order your copy of the sequel - Survival - now!
Here's the funding page, where I will be posting lots of new excerpts over the coming months:
Darwin’s Soldiers has received many 5-star reviews - thank you! If you haven’t left a review…30th October 2018 Join me and together we can rule the galaxy
Traditionally, a sequel is supposed to be difficult to write (like a band’s second album?).
Which means the second book of a trilogy should be even harder to create. It’s like a middle child trying to be independent from its mature sibling whilst staying fresh when the brilliant younger sibling arrives to steal the limelight.
The middle book has to be different.
It has to have something special…9th October 2018 Survival of the fittest
Thank you everyone for your pictures of Darwin’s Soldiers!
It’s been great seeing the book in the wild, hearing everyone’s comments and reading your reviews. A few of you have finished the book already (fast reading!) and Darwin’s Soldiers currently has 6 five-star reviews on Amazon, which is amazing. Feel free to add your review if you want to! Speaking of which, here's a great review of Darwin…20th September 2018 Over the top
Team Darwin - we did it! Darwin’s Soldiers is published today! Woo-hoo!
A big thank you everyone and especially to the three authors whose short stories can be found at the back of Darwin’s Soldiers:
Kerensa Jennings - The Rage Machine
Andrew Checker - Follow the Light
Michael Hunt - Thirteen Sevens
Today is exactly…18th September 2018 Here it comes
It was great to see so many of you at the Darwin’s Soldiers launch event on Saturday!
Landguard Fort turned out to be a perfect place for the gathering (I’m not sure we could have crammed over 40 people into a bookshop?) and the fort volunteer, Martin, did a great job dressed in his WW1 gear.
We’re just a couple of days away from the publication date (Thursday 20th September) which…24th August 2018 Cover reveal, pub date and launch event
Team Darwin, the time has come to reveal… the Darwin’s Soldiers cover!
What do you think? If I saw this in a bookshop I would definitely pick it up!
The designer, Mark Ecob, has captured the feel of the novel perfectly (the green will make sense when you read the book) and I like to think someone who pledged for the poster has matching wallpaper.
And there’s more…
The publication date…20th July 2018 This is the end
My beautiful friends. The Unbound bouncers will be closing the doors to chez Darwin this Sunday (22nd July) and locking the door, so now is your last chance to log in and:
- Check your name is spelt correctly (this is how it will be printed in the book!)
4th July 2018 Don't Panic
- Check your pledge level (did you pledge for an e-book or paperback? Are you sure you don’t want a poster of the cover art on your wall…
Milestones are there to remind us we’re on a journey.
They remind us to pause, take stock, look around and make sure we aren’t lost. With that in mind…
‘The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is… 42.’
Today (assuming you're reading this on July 5th) I hit a new milestone – forty-two years old! Yes, yes, I know, I don't look a day over forty-one.
This will…30th May 2018 Chocks away
I’m not sure how many analogies I can create for publishing Darwin’s Soldiers?
We’ve had walking the length of Britain, giving birth and a growing a bush in the shape of a spaceship… now I’m imagining a Spitfire taxiing out of a hanger. The engine’s ready to kick into action and the machine guns are loaded. Meanwhile, I’m on my deckchair, pipe in hand and catching some rays while the team give…2nd May 2018 Mission Complete
Darwin’s Soldiers has hit another milestone!
Unbound Books have drafted the finest minds to work on the novel: whittling, clipping and trimming it like a topiary Millenium Falcon. Names have changed, poems have been deleted and many words have been hyphenated. The copy-edit is complete and it looks ready to fly!
But before we punch the hyperdrive and head off exploring, we have the type-setting…29th March 2018 Check your pledge
Team Darwin, today we’ve taken another step closer to seeing Darwin’s Soldiers evolving (get it?) into a real book:
The Structural Edit is complete!
130,000 words of adrenalin-fueled adventure and discovery, told from the point of view of twelve historical characters, will be in your hands in a just few months.
Characters have been renamed and chapters shunted, new scenes written and…1st March 2018 One circle around the sun
Happy World Book Day everyone! I imagine you are all dressed as hobbits, Victorian gentlewomen or the BFG today? If not, you can borrow one of my costumes when I've finished with them. :)
Can you believe it's been one whole year since the campaign for bringing Darwin's Soldiers started? The Earth is currently in the same point around the Sun as it was when Unbound pushed the button and launched…9th February 2018 The Editor Strikes Back
In a week when we saw a car blasting through space with the Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy guiding it towards the asteroid belt, Darwin’s Soldiers has re-entered the atmosphere and landed on my desk.
(I can hear the cheering across the globe – yeah! Woo-hoo!)
We’re a step closer to seeing the book in paper (or electronic) format, but hold your horses – we’re not there yet! The Editor (Hal…23rd January 2018 The code is being edited
After our exhilarating trip from Land’s End to John O’Groats, it’s fitting that the Darwin’s Soldiers manuscript finds itself in the hands of one of Scotland’s finest SFF writers and editors, Hal Duncan. As you can see by one of his books below, he is more than welcome in our clan! Fingers crossed he doesn’t cut some of my favourite scenes from Darwin’s Soldiers, including the one with the giant armadillo…4th January 2018 John O'Groats
We did it! Darwin’s Soldiers is officially funded!!
Ten months after setting out from Land’s End with our backpacks full off dreams and a spring in our step we have finally arrived in John O’Groats! Let’s pop in the local pub, grab a whiskey and then we can go home for a well-earned rest.
Thank you every single one of you. You made this happen. Thank you for your pledges (and for upgrading…20th December 2017 So this is Christmas
Merry Christmas you guys!
We’ve reached the heady heights of 95%, which means we only need a handful of supporters to reach our target. With this in mind, I have dusted off the sacred manuscript and I’m currently reading it one last time before handing it over to the Editor… and I must admit *blows own trumpet* it’s a damn good read! I can’t wait to see it in print and for you all to get stuck…13th December 2017 I love the 90's
We’ve made it past 90%!
As I type this we are just £2 shy of 92% and only a few hundred pounds from reaching our target. Such a great achievement – thank you one and all!
Seeing as we’ve taken another step closer to publication, here’s another Darwin’s Soldiers excerpt, this time from when we first meet the Tocka.
A group of soldiers have stumbled on a fossil-rich cliff face where Gal-qadan…1st December 2017 It’s been nine months… time to start pushing
Can you believe it’s been nine full months since Darwin’s Soldiers started its intrepid journey of transformation? Like Pinocchio longing to turn into a real boy, my creation is getting ever so closer to becoming a real book and it’s all been down to you. Thanks, you’re all magic!
The plan is to hit 100% before Christmas, so, my army of followers, I call upon you to help once more!
I’m sure…17th November 2017 What is in a name?
After much deliberation and head scratching, I have finally come up with a suitable name for the group of books which Darwin’s Soldiers will kick off:
The Origin Trilogy
I’m keeping it simple and true to the over-arching plot which binds the three books together. It’s also in keeping with the Darwin and evolution theme, which is developed further in the titles of the following two books:…10th November 2017 Inverness
We’ve come a long, long way together…
Using my favourite Land’s End to John O’Groats analogy, we’re now at Inverness! Seriously, Scotland is a lot bigger than I had first thought, but we’re nearly there. Just a hop, skip and a jump along the coast and we’ve made it.
Thank you to our newest members! Our crowd has grown in number and there are over 100 of us now. Without your support, Darwin…24th October 2017 First canvas finished
If you selected an original acrylic canvas as part of your pledge, you’ll be pleased to know the first canvas has been completed - woo-hoo!
It’s a close up of General Panzicosta, which is view very few people get to experience in Darwin’s Soldiers and those who do tend to come off badly.
You’ll have to be quick if you want to upgrade your pledge as there are only a couple of canvas pledges…3rd October 2017 Thank you!
We’ve made steady progress bringing Darwin’s Soldiers to publication so I just wanted to thank each and every one of you. Your generosity (and patience) is greatly appreciated. Next year will mark twenty years since I started writing my first novel so, with your help, we’re nearing the end of a long journey – or is it just the beginning?
As the nights have been drawing in I’ve been busy with…20th September 2017 Pushing 70
We’re getting so close to 70% I can almost taste it. And it tastes of tatties and neeps. I’m not sure where we are in Scotland now (it’s far bigger than I thought) but we’d better hurry up before the winter sets in and the natives get hungry.
So we need to keep moving. This is a call to arms - Darwin’s Soldiers need you!
To get to 100% we need to get the last few pledgers on board, so please…1st September 2017 Six months
Wow. How time flies… it’s been six whole months since Darwin’s Soldiers flickered into life on the Unbound Books website and we started the journey to publication. In that time, during Earth’s half orbit around the sun, Brian Aldiss and Colin Dexter have passed away, the UK voted blue and North Korea made numerous attempts to start fireworks night early. Someone needs to teach them the rhyme:…23rd August 2017 I am but a fish…
As we venture further north and we avoid the thought that winter is coming, I thought I’d share a song from Darwin’s Soldiers. While the Day Watch rest in a cave behind an immense waterfall, John sees ghostly images of long dead soldiers flickering to life around a Scottish warrior as he sings a lament for home:
I am but a fish spent spawning in this stream,
That carries me, nay, lifts…3rd August 2017 Scotland
Would you believe it? We’ve made it to Scotland! After several months walking across England and straight past Wales because it’s far too hilly, we have crossed the border into Scotland.
Yes, I’m dragging out the Land’s End to John O’Groats metaphor for as long as I can because it’s one of the few things keeping me sane while I promote Darwin’s Soldiers! One step at a time… and we’re getting there…13th July 2017 Competition Time!
How is everyone? Enjoying the summer so far?
I thought I would push your excitement levels to the max with a book competition!
I’m offering my personal copies of the four books which influenced Darwin’s Soldiers to anyone who upgrades their pledge during July – or to any new pledgers joining our crew.
The influential books are:
The Art of War – any new pledges for the e-book
The…21st June 2017 Summer begins…
The Sun caresses the horizon, swinging low like a fiery kite
Tied to the neck of the Moon as she howls at the lack of night
Spring’s promise are fulfilled, the fruit ripen and swell
The good old days are here again and all is well
Darwin’s Soldiers is over half way to being funded but it feels like the rest of the journey will be uphill!
Keep on the lookout for new pledgers…9th June 2017 New Author Interview
I’ve just had an interview posted on the Zealot Script website. It was great fun answering some thought-provoking questions.
Check out the below link and have a browse if you’re interested in all things Sci-fi – lots of interesting stuff on there!6th June 2017 Halfway there!
We made it - halfway there!
Going by the Land’s End to John O’Groats analogy we’re about to enter the Lake District, so let’s hope for good weather. Can someone pick up some mint cake along the way?
In the meantime, I’ve been busy finding new members for the journey and drumming up some interesting discussions on Facebook… how about the idea of individuals being able to mutate (and therefore…23rd May 2017 Can we reach 50% before deadline day?
Where has the time gone? It’s been almost three months since the gates were opened and the first pledges streamed in for Darwin’s Soldiers. How our band of merry readers has grown since! Warm thanks to all our newest pledgers and generous patrons!
Deadline day approaches and I hope if we reach 50% we will be granted an extension – Darwin’s Soldiers will be published!
In the meantime, and with…3rd May 2017 Our Clan Grows Strong!
We’re growing in numbers! Hello to all the new members and welcome to the Darwin’s Soldiers clan. Thank you all - I am constantly surprised and humbled by your support and generosity.
It’s been a couple of months since I left John and the surviving characters from Darwin’s Soldiers in their bizarre world and I miss them (spoiler – quite a few die!). I can’t wait to get back in there and work with…21st April 2017 Looking for the 50th member of the Darwin clan
Darwin’s Soldiers is 30% funded! Time to let off some fireworks, drink some ale and dance like a loon! A big thanks to Lynette and the Weekes posse and everyone else who has pledged this month!
Our clan is growing stronger - from Shanghai to Copenhagen, Frating to Felixstowe - support for Darwin’s Soldiers is growing and we’re looking for the 50th pledger to join us on the journey.
I can…29th March 2017 25% Reached!
Thanks to you all, Darwin’s Soldiers is a quarter of the way to publication!
Going by the Land’s End to John O’Groats analogy we’re in the Midlands now – ancient Mercia. Did anyone bring a metal-detector? Let’s find a hoard! Or maybe we’ll dig up Utred’s sword?
It’s been an interesting journey so far. Like the hobbits leaving Hobbiton, I’m down to one breakfast a day and have nearly run out…21st March 2017 One small step from you...
Darwin’s Soldiers is 20% funded! Thank you!
We’re one-fifth of the way along the journey, which means if we’re running from Land’s End to John O’Groats, we’ve just made it to Bath. So, bring on the Midlands!
Please share this page with anyone who would love to have their name in the book, or any writers who would love to see their short story published. (Andy C. I’m looking forward to reading…2nd March 2017 Day One in the Big Darwin Shed
Thank you for pledging your support and for your help in bringing Darwin’s Soldiers to publication!
My shed at home has a brass ‘Captain’ plaque on the door and is full of rusty implements, but this shed is a more relaxed affair. Here we have a thick carpet on the floor and well-worn leather chairs to sink into while we chat and I answer your questions. Take your shoes off and relax.
These people are helping to fund Darwin's Soldiers.
Rhel ná DecVandé